Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup Honored By Confluence Award

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15

Volunteers and stream cleanup organizers from across the state recently met in Atlanta to celebrate the accomplishments of the state’s largest volunteer cleanup program, Rivers Alive.  The Rivers Alive awards honor the efforts of individuals and groups who are working to improve Georgia’s waterways, one trash bag at a time.  Volunteers wade into rivers, lakes and coastal waters each fall as part of the continuing statewide campaign to clean and preserve more than 70,000 miles of Georgia waterways.

The Rivers Alive awards ceremony, held on April 15, at Zoo Atlanta, recognized groups of volunteers, as well as individuals and businesses for their efforts in 2013.  The Confluence award, which recognizes successful community partnerships, was awarded to organizers of the annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup event.  Confluence, defined as the flowing together of two or more streams, or rivers, clearly describes the coming together of local organizations for one purpose.  The members of the organizing committee for the annual cleanup are Jeff Carrier (Carpet & Rug Institute), Dirk Verhoeff (Conasauga River Alliance & Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority), Gretchen and John Lugthart (Dalton State College), Phillip Pfeifer and David Oxford (Dalton Utilities), Sandy Adams (Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful), Liz Swafford (Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful), Josh Smith and Dan Huser (Limestone Valley RC & D), Brenda Jackson (Murray County Extension), Katie Owens (The Nature Conservancy), and Chris Hester (Whitfield County).

“This is certainly an appropriate award for our group,” said John Lugthart, one of the organizers and a Dalton State professor of biology.  “We have a great team of people, all of whom are committed to educating our community about the importance of protecting our local streams and the Conasauga River.  We are coming up on our 20th annual cleanup and are still going strong!” 

During the 2013 watershed cleanup 258 volunteers from Whitfield and Murray Counties removed trash, debris, and invasive plants from seven sites in the two counties.  Overall, volunteers collected and removed 8,329 pounds of trash and 37 tires. 

Funding sponsors for the 2013 event included: Shaw Industries, J&J Industries, Dalton Utilities, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, The Nature Conservancy, and the Conasauga River Alliance. 

At the state level, during the 2013 Cleanup, 27,679 volunteers cleaned more than 1,800 miles of waterways and removed over 500,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, including car parts, grocery carts, luggage, basketballs, TVs, sinks, bicycles, tires and plastic bottles. Rivers Alive is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. “Rivers Alive cleanups provide important opportunities for citizens to make a big difference while volunteering just a few hours of their time,” said EPD Director Jud Turner. “Citizens return home with a greater awareness of how our everyday choices impact our environment.”

Tellico Hatchery Announces Winter Hours

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced winter hours for the Tellico Hatchery in Tellico Plains. Holidays along with hours of daylight and alterations in operations are the primary reasons for changes. Fish eat less during colder months. This reason, along with a reduction of seasonal responsibilities such as mowing grass and hatchery upkeep, means fewer people on staff. ... (click for more)

Wildlife Officer Pete Geesling Honored In Veterans Day Observance Ceremony

Brandon “Pete” Geesling, a wildlife officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Warren County, was one of five veteran state employees recognized during a Veterans Day observance event held at the Tennessee Tower Plaza.     Previously, Mr. Geesling served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a combat engineer which included a deployment ... (click for more)

Volkswagen Stockholder Files Suit Against Automaker At Chattanooga; Seeks Class Action Status

A Volkswagen stockholder has filed suit in Federal Court in Chattanooga against the automaker, charging that its stock was over-valued and that it has not plummeted due to revelations about emissions cheating. The suit was filed in behalf of Michael Wolfenbarger by Knoxville attorney Gordon Ball and Nashville attorney James Stranch III. It seeks class action status for those ... (click for more)

Woman In Critical Condition After Being Shot In The Face Saturday Night Near O'Rear Street

A woman is in critical condition after she was shot while driving in Chattanooga on Saturday night. Just after  9 p.m. , the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a person shot. Once on the scene, police located a female victim near the 2500 block of O'Rear Street suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound to the face. The victim was driving a ... (click for more)

Misconceptions About Ban The Box

Mr. Exum,  I want to invite you as a guest speaker at the NAACP General Membership meeting.  I believe we can accomplish our goals and clear up any misconceptions about Ban The Box and the role of the NAACP in a much more meaningful manner face to face.   In that vein I would like to invite you to have coffee with me at Panera Bread.  I will not make a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Great Thanksgiving

In order for you to best understand this, last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone.  Don’t misunderstand, I had a fistful of kind invitations but I am the only remaining member of my immediate family around here and I guess I started dwelling on that a little too much as the holiday neared. Making out my “thankful” list helped, and I ate enough with ... (click for more)